Length: 267 pgs / N/A audio

Overall: 🐒🐒🐒🐒


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Writing Style:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Character Development:

Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

‘So our plan hinges on the hope that this evil guy has his head stuck in the sand and doesn’t notice a large army of elves and men marching on his gates? And if he is paying attention, he’ll destroy us all and we will have come all of this way for nothing?’ … ‘Yes'”

Zahara’s Gift by A.J. Walker

The Story:

A young man forced into action. A juvenile dragon alone in a new world. Whispers of a terrible evil returning to power.

Nineteen-year-old Anders lived a fairly normal life until the only family he had was taken away from him. When he finds himself forced to embark on an action packed adventure, he discovers there is more to the world than he was told. The magical force that flows within everything around him becomes revealed. Dragons, elves, orcs, and goblins lurk around nearly every turn along the path as he pursues his two kidnapped cousins.

As Anders discovers more about his family’s past, he learns of their involvement in The War of The Magicians and the circumstances leading up to the attack of his hometown. When Anders is told about his potential involvement in a prophecy involving dragons and their powerful magic, he will need to make a difficult decision. Will he continue to follow the path that is laid out for him or can he make his own destiny? Will he ever be reunited with his family again? And if he succeeds, will he ever be able to return to the life he once knew?

Key Elements:

Fantasy, Fiction, Dragons, Magic, War, Young Adult, Elves, Humans, Dragon Riders, Adventure, Coming-of-age

Others in Series:

Book 0.5 : Dragon Wars: War of The Magicians

Book 2: Secrets of The Sapphire Soul

Book 3: Fall of The Kings

Why This Rating?

Full disclosure, I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for a voluntary honest review.

Anyone else a sucker for a great adventure story? Especially one that has magic and dragons involved?? I am all for those stories! And here is a great one to add to your reading list. The writing is smooth and, if you have the time, could easily be finished within a day or two despite it being a nearly 300 page book. It was an easy page turner. Walker managed to always keep my attention despite the distance the characters were traveling in between locations. And there was a LOT of traveling happening. There is a map included in the book for those who like to follow where people are coming and going from. You will definitely need it. Walker’s world is quite large and we’re only seeing a section of it in this first book.

While reading, I really got the Eragon feelings. This was easily one of my favorite books when I was younger. I would read it over and over just to live in the dragon rider and magic realm that Christopher Paolini created. And the fact the A.J. Walker’s book is similar is not a bad thing for me. Takes me back to the moments I wanted to escape into those magical realms when I was younger. This book is for that same age of readers that Eragon is in my opinion. That Young Adult group that is stretching out into the New Adult sections testing the reading waters. There are a far amount of similarities when it comes to these two stories, but Walker absolutely has his own flair to this coming-of-age dragon rider story.

One complaint I did have for the story, we didn’t get to see a dragon until the halfway point! I think the set up and the story development was well done and needed for the beginning of the story, but I was truly expecting to see a few more of the dragons around than what we did. We learn why there is only a few around as you read. When that first one pops up in the writing I have a big sticky note going “WOOT! Finally!” because I was excited to get a glimpse of one at last! This is the first one in the series and based on where we are left at the end, there will certainly be more dragons in the upcoming book. Which is going to be awesome!

Also, since this is the first book there was a fair amount of history/background given to us as you read. This can be done in a really boring info dump sections that I am sure we are all too familiar with. Walker does a really good job at giving the information in a very organic set up for the characters and in turn for us. There is a steady flow of conversation happening within the big blocks of history between the characters. They ask questions, react to things they are hearing, work on their jobs while listening. They aren’t sitting still and quite listening to a person go on about something. Well, most of the the time. They do go see an old wise man at one point and still have an interactive conversation with him – hell they even get off on to a tangent and eventually call themselves out on it – but then they settle quietly into the rest of the storytelling. Easily one of the best info dump moments I’ve read. It really seemed authentic and could have easily happened which is very important!

This was a really fun read and I am really looking forward to continuing on with the series! I would highly recommend this story to all of you. Especially to my wanna be dragon riders out there. If you ever enjoyed Christopher Paolini or Anne McCaffery’s dragon series this one will absolutely be up your alley in stories. Yes, it is for the young adult readers, but I’d argue that anyone could truly enjoy this story.

Time to get lost in the next story!

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